· 2 min read Posted by Kevin Galligan

How To (And How Not To) Hire a Developer

Having been on both sides of the hiring/interviewing table for the last 15 or so. I have put together this post on how to hire for a developer.

I’ve been programming professionally for almost 20 years, and have been on both sides of the hiring/interviewing table for the last 15 or so. I wrote about this for Mashable a while back. Currently I’m President of touchlab, NYC’s Android dev & design shop; and run the Android NYC meetup and Android conference, Droidcon NYC.  

Although there might be small tips and tricks that will nudge the percent viewed on your email sends, all of that is basically laughed at on the developer end. Recruiting emails with “catchy” subjects and salesy pitches are a running joke in the technical community. There’s been discussion of going to interviews dressed as ninjas and rockstars just for fun.  

Software developers are professionals. They might come to work dressed in flip flops and t-shirts, but they take their careers very seriously. If you wouldn’t write something to a doctor or lawyer, you might want to think twice about writing the same to a software developer (this is more important the more senior they are).

  1. They care about job quality and enjoyment. There are *many* jobs available. There aren’t as many interesting ones, and many environments can lead to excessive hours and pressure. Developers tend to look for positions with high technical interest, exposure to newer technology, opportunity for advancement, as well as reasonable hours and requirement. Raw compensation is less of a concern than with other careers.
  2. Slightly less of a concern. Compensation is obviously important.

If you really want tips:

  1. The better developers tend to be hired based on personal connections, just like everybody else. Go to meetups and other networking events and get to know people.  Leverage your internal team (if you have one). Leverage friends and other industry contacts if you don’t.
  2. If you have developers internally, send them out to attend/speak at meetups and conferences. Cover their expenses. This is valuable to you.
  3. Go out after meetups and buy drinks. Trust me.
  4. Pay attention to company change events, positive and negative. It’s not logical, but people leave when a company raises money as well as when a company is doing poorly.

Finally, if you’re out “networking”, just be upfront about who you are, chat like a normal person, and don’t try to make every conversation a transaction.

At least that’s how we do it.